Patients in Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals now have the right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, regardless of whether or not the visitors are family members.
According to new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospitals can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Patients will also be allowed to name a person of their choice, including a same-sex partner, to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are medically unable to do so.
The new guidance updates the Conditions of Participation, which are standards that apply to all Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals, critical access hospitals, and patients in those hospitals even if they aren’t on Medicaid or Medicare.
Hospitals will need to have written policies that explain visitation rights, as well as clear guidance on when hospitals may restrict access based on reasonable clinical needs.